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Bitesized Blighty: September 2, 2016

Immy Ransom

Europe’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has defended her €13bn (£11bn) ruling against Apple’s Irish tax affairs, hitting back at claims made by a predecessor that EU state aid laws should not be used to fight sweetheart tax deals. This follows an ongoing investigation into Apple’s tax deal with Ireland. Historically, Brussels competition officials have only used state aid powers in limited circumstances, which have not involved private tax deals awarded by member states to multinationals. Tim Cook expressed his disapproval of the outcome and plans to appeal the decision.

In England this week, there has been much discussion of the junior doctor strikes against a new NHS contract. The British Medical Association (BMA) announced four five-day walkouts between now and mid-December. BMA junior doctor leader Dr Ellen McCourt explained "The government has consistently said this is about creating a seven-day NHS, when junior doctors already work weekends and it's been shown that the government has no answer to how it will staff and fund extra weekend care."

Theresa May is determined to begin EU exit negotiations early in 2017 in spite of warnings that she should wait until French and German elections are over. Although the prime minister was initially for Bremain, she has showed persistence in following through with the result of the referendum. Once the prime minister activates Article 50 she has two years to conclude a deal; if none is reached then Britain will leave automatically, unless all EU members unanimously agree to extend the talks. 

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